• Short Summary

    After only three months in office, France's President Valery Giscard d'Estaing is building a reputation as the man who has saved the soul of old Paris.

  • Description

    After only three months in office, France's President Valery Giscard d'Estaing is building a reputation as the man who has saved the soul of old Paris.

    In two unexpected moves, he vetoed a plan for building an urban motorway along the picturesque Left Bank of the River Seine and ordered a park in place of a giant commercial centre that was to have risen on the site of the dismantled less Halles market.

    France's environmentalists are jubilant. Not so the construction and property industry, where one investment expert lamented that the President had brought an end to building speculation fever.

    Giscard's predecessor, the late President Pompidou, spearheaded a building boom that has taken Frenchmen on a headlong rush into modernity over the last decade. Towering skyscrapers and superhighways have spring up across the country that had always resisted change.

    The Giscard approach has antagonised many of the people who helped bring him to power and delighted the opposition left which has long deplored the property speculation explosion in Paris. Business leaders who supported the President in the May elections believe he is taking a deliberate kick at the building industry. Members of the Paris City Council complain he is acting imperiously. He took the decision on Les Halles without consulting or warning municipal leaders.

    But the new President's decision to create a park in the ancient Right Bank area will give the heart of Paris its first extensive green space.

    Though the 86-acre site will be small compared to New York's Central Park or London's Hyde Park, ecologists and environmentalists are delighted. An underground transport terminus and shopping centre will still be built below the park.

    The inner-city motorway plan scrapped by President Giscard was conceived in M. Pompidou's time. The modern highway would have sent traffic streaming within a stone's throw of the medieval towers of Notre Dame Cathedral. Planners had intended to cover the highway and keep the traffic out of sight at sensitive beauty spots like Notre Dame. But critics said the project would have destroyed the atmosphere of the cobbled Seine quais with their booksellers and parapets for lingering lovers.

    President Giscard's construction slow down may not end with these two projects. Latest reports form Paris say he plans to lower the maximum permitted height of new buildings and to review existing urban renewal projects around the city. One aim would be to slow down the race to demolish graceful old apartment buildings now being replaced by ultramodern office blocks.

    SYNOPSIS: Beautiful Paris...city of bridges and the picturesque Seine. It's a city whose character has changed little over the centuries. And, only three months in office, France's President Valery Giscard d'Estaing is building a reputation as the man who is determined to see it retains this unique character. Two recent decisions by the President have delighted conservationists and stunned developers.

    Glscard's predecessor, the late president Pompidou, spearheaded a building boom that took France on a headlong rush into modernity over the last decade. Towering skyscraper and super highways sprung up across the country that had always resisted change.

    In Paris, graceful old apartment buildings fell under the wrecker's hammer to be replaced by ultra-modern office blocks.

    Now, President Giscard has applied a restraining hand. In two unexpected moves, he vetoed a plan for building an urban motorway along the Left Bank of the River Seine and ordered a park in place of a giant commercial centre that was to have ???on on the sits of the dismantled Les Halles market on the Right Bank.

    The proposed Le Halles park will give Paris its first excessive green space. The eighty-six acre site will still have an underground transport terminus and a shopping centre, but they will be built below the park.

    The inner-city motorway plan scrapped by President Giscard would have sent traffic streaming within a stone's throw of the medieval towers of Notre Dame Cathedral. Planners had intended to cover the highway and keep traffic out of sight at beauty spots like Notre Dame, but critics said the project would destroy the atmosphere of the area.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4SGONX1K18FOG67TG42GXB243
    Media URN:
    VLVA4SGONX1K18FOG67TG42GXB243
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    24/07/1974
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:51:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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